30th January 2018 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Conradie leads the chasers at Wingate Park
(PHOTO – Ruan Conradie; credit CJ du Plooy)
PRETORIA, 30 January 2018 – Ruan Conradie gave the home fans plenty to cheer about as the local favourite moved into the outright lead on day two in the 14th Race to Q-School event on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old rookie was composure personified as he racked up six birdies for a flawless six-under-par 66 at Wingate Park Country Club to move to 11-under 131.
Conradie tops the current IGT Challenge Tour Money List leader and has his sights set on the number one spot in the Race to Q-School Order of Merit.
“I’m about R9 000 behind my brother, so it will take a win to close the gap,” said Conradie. “There is a bunch of seasoned players in the chasing pack and my brother joined the party today, so I’ll have to take my A-game to the course on Wednesday.”
Conradie leads by one shot from Sunshine Tour player Wynand Dingle, who fired successive rounds of 67, and he is two clear of Gary Player School of 2017 member Teboho Sefatsa and IGT Challenge Tour winner Pieter Moolman.
Sefatsa was 11-under through 12 holes, but the former Sunshine Tour winner let it slip with back-to-back bogeys at seven and eight for a 68. Moolman had five birdies from the 10th to the 18th, and eagled the third hole, but spoiled a clean card with a bogey at 10 for a 66.
Meanwhile younger brother Estiaan claimed the low round honours with a blemish-free 64 to rocket to joint fifth at eight-under with Zimbabwean Benjamin Follett-Smith, who returned a 66.
Dingle tied for second in his previous two starts in the 2017/2018 season of the country’s premier golf development circuit and the Pecanwood golfer would love to finish in the winner’s circle ahead of next week’s Eye of Africa PGA Championship.
“I like to compete on IGT Challenge Tour to stay competitive between events and we have a really big one coming up, so I’m pleased with where my game is at,” he said. “I had two bad holes all day. I bogeyed one and saved par at the other, so that’s a pretty good result.”
Dingle hit gap-wedge to 15 feet at 12 and holed a slight left to right uphill putt for birdie to put the first red number on his card. He holed another 12-footer at 13 for birdie and hit seven-iron in from 178 metres to 10 foot at 14 to set up birdie number three.
“I wanted to cut a 9-iron in at 16, but I pulled it,” said Dingle. “I ended up in the left bunker and I couldn’t up-and-down to save par. But I holed a lob-wedge from 60 metres out at the first for eagle, so that definitely took the sting out of dropping a shot.
“I nearly holed out the fifth, too. I hit an 8-iron in and it just stopped short of the hole. Possibly the only regret of the day was not making birdie at second. You never want to leave a par five without a birdie, but I hit a poor second after a perfect drive down the middle and finished in the dam. I actually did great to save par, so I’m not complaining.
“I’m in a strong position, so there is very little to complain about, but it would be nice to give the bridesmaid tag to someone else and get married myself this time.”